Educators and the children in their charge are being labeled “effective” and “ineffective” based on assessments that are mere snapshots of the journey that is authentic teaching and learning. If this model of evaluation were to be suggested for America’s pastime, imagine the outrage. Imagine the kind of rebellion that would occur if it were announced that there would no longer be a baseball season. There will be one game. If your team wins, you are a winner. If your team loses, you must turn in your uniform. Even with Joe DiMaggio in the lineup, sometimes the Yankees lost. Imagine the implications, and yet this is exactly what is being done to education.
No one would argue the ability of Joe DiMaggio, and yet in his career he only got on base slightly over 30% of the time. In other words, 70% of the time, Joe DiMaggio did not meet his objective. This is acceptable to us because we understand the complexity of the task at hand. There is so much to account for: crowd noise, a small moving target, weather conditions, and especially, the nine fielders that are actively opposing the efforts of the hitter. Why then, is it so difficult to see the same complexity in the task facing teachers and students? They have just as many obstacles to reaching their objective, if not more. They do not have the luxury of personal trainers to keep them in perfect physical form, or a grounds crew to make sure that their footing is sound. They are not given the opportunity to play again tomorrow.
We shouldn’t accept for America’s public education system what we would not accept for America’s pastime. Refuse to play the game.